AFC Women's Champs: grand final is coming

AFC Women
Courtesy: The AFC.com

Winning the final now all that matters for IR Iran’s Mozafar

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bangkok: Islamic Republic of Iran head coach Shahrzad Mozafar says substance, not style is at the forefront of their push for a second successive title in Saturday’s AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 final against Japan.

The defending champions have been all but untouchable in Bangkok, scoring 32 goals in four matches, with a briefly defiant China PR the only side to issue a serious challenge to their dominance.

But despite the sheer weight of goals in their campaign, and the style in which they have been scored, Mozafar said getting the job done was her only focus in the final.

“We are thinking only about winning in the final,” said the 48-year-old.

“It doesn’t matter how many we score, I’m not thinking about the extent of the result, I’m just thinking about winning, that’s it. The final game is a very special game and we have to be really careful and clever.”

Iran beat Japan 1-0 in the final in the inaugural final in Malaysia three years ago, with tournament MVP Fereshteh Karimi scoring the decisive goal and Farzaneh Tavasoli making a number of key saves.

Both players have been outstanding again in Bangkok, with able support from the likes of nine-goal top scorer Fatemeh Etedadi and Sara Sirbeigi.

They all played a role In Mozafar’s side’s racing to a 4-0 half-time lead in their semi-final win over Vietnam, but the tactician insisted she remained focused on closing the game out rather than resting key players in the latter stages.

“A semi-final match is so important by itself. We have a day of rest, so I paid no attention to managing players before the final, because this match was so important,” she explained.

“You saw in the second half that Vietnam got back into the contest and played the game. It was not easy and we can’t be deceived by the result just because we won 5-0.”

While many of her players have been Asian champions before, winning the title would be a first for Mozafar, with Forouzan Soleimani at the helm when Iran lifted the trophy in 2015.


Group D: 14-0 Turkmenistan
Group D: 9-2 Uzbekistan
Quarter-final: 4-2 China PR
Semi-final: 5-0 Vietnam

Courtesy: The AFC.com

Iranian goal machine Etedadi proud to act as inspiration

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bangkok: Ahead of Saturday’s AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 final, Islamic Republic of Iran star Fatemeh Etedadi told the-AFC.com about her remarkable scoring spree and the impact of the national team’s success.

Already an Asian champion in Malaysia in 2015, Etedadi has lit up the courts of Thailand with nine goals in just four games to help the reigning champions reach a second consecutive decider against Japan.

After going scoreless three years ago, the 29-year-old opened her account at the 2018 continental championship with a four-goal haul against Turkmenistan, before scoring a double against Uzbekistan, a crucial strike against China PR and two more in the semi-final against Vietnam.

She is now in pole position to win the tournament’s top scorer award, although Japan’s Anna Amishiro and Thailand’s Sasicha Phothiwong remain in contention with eight goals apiece.

Etedadi said her scoring success is the result of hard work and the extension of excellent run of domestic form.

“I was the top goal scorer in Iran leading up the tournament and I have continued it here,” she said.

“I did a lot of planning for this tournament, and I’ve tried so hard in all the matches. I always try my best for the team and the country rather than because of a desire to score personally.”

A team-first attitude is a common theme for Etedadi. While she has been the goal scoring hero in Bangkok, she says team success has always been her objective.

“When I started playing futsal at the age of 15, the goal for me was reaching the national team and the second goal was being the best team in Asia,” she revealed.

“Now the final goal is becoming one of the best teams in the world.”

Iran has long-been an Asian futsal powerhouse. Their men’s national team have dominated the AFC Futsal Championship, winning the competition 12 of the 15 times it has been staged, but Etedadi says the success of the women’s side has changed the face of the game back home.

The success of 2015 was a circuit-breaker in terms of recognition for ability of the nation’s female stars, and Etedadi is acutely aware of the impact their achievements have on future generations.

“The last title was really inspiring and now women’s futsal is big and well-known in Iran. Before that there was nothing,” she said,

“People really showed appreciation the last time when we won, and everybody – girls, boys, all the young people were inspired."

“Many girls in Iran are inspired because these girls (the Iran team) are so inspiring.”


Fatemeh Etedadi (IRN) - 9
Anna Amishiro (JPN) - 8
Sasicha Phothiwong (THA) - 8
Darika Peanpailun (THA) - 6
Ryo Egawa (JPN) - 5
Fereshteh Karimi (IRN) - 5

Courtesy: The AFC.com

Japan’s amazing Amishiro chasing revenge in futsal decider

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bangkok: In-form Japan star Anna Amishiro said her side’s 2015 AFC Women’s Futsal Championship Final loss to Islamic Republic of Iran will serve as inspiration when the two side’s meet again in this year’s decider, to be held on Saturday.

Amishiro was part of the squad that fell at the final hurdle in Malaysia, where Fereshteh Karimi’s eight-minute goal made Iran the first AFC women’s futsal champions.

Now 26, the SWH Futsal Club player has emerged as one of the stars of the tournament in Japan’s surge to the final, but she hasn’t forgotten how their last continental campaign ended.

“I want to win and become a champion in the final,” she declared

“In the previous tournament (in 2015) we lost in the final against Iran, so this time we want to take revenge in the game on Saturday.”

While the nations in the final remain the same, Amishiro’s goal scoring output has changed drastically from one AFC Women’s Futsal Championship to the next. After contributing two goals in 2015, she has scored eight times in Bangkok to sit equal second behind Iran’s Fatemeh Etedadi in the race for the golden boot.

In addition to her goals, she was voted Most Valuable Player for the fourth match running in Japan’s semi-final win over Thailand, putting her in contention for multiple honours and further justifying her decision to switch to the five-a-side game from football.

“Yes, I used to play football instead of futsal,” said Amishiro, who scored hat-tricks against Bahrain and China PR in the group stage.

“I wanted to play futsal after I graduated from high school, but I wanted to study football more during university.

“After I graduated from university I switched to futsal because it looked enjoyable.

Japan head coach Kenichiro Kogure is sure to have Amishiro’s performances equally enjoyable, but the former AFC Futsal Championship-winning player said reaching the final had been a team effort.

“I think every player is a very hard worker, so everyone does their job and contributes as much as they can in every match,” he said.

While Iran head coach Shahrzad Mozafar has spoken of her dissatisfaction at only playing two matches in the group stage, Kogure believes it will do the reigning champions no harm.

““Iran only played two games in the group stage, and I think that’s an advantage for them,” he declared.

“We’ve played tough games almost every time; games against opponents like China, Uzbekistan and Thailand.

“So first we’d like to improve the players condition and hopefully they’ll be rested before the final.”


Group C: beat Lebanon 5-1
Group C: beat Bahrain 13-0
Group C: beat China PR 6-4
Quarter-final: beat Uzbekistan 5-1
Semi-final: beat Thailand 2-1

Posted by Luca Ranocchiari --> luca.ranocchiari@futsalplanet.com


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